The former WBA heavyweight and unified cruiserweight champion struggled with an apparent Achilles injury from the sixth round, correlating to reports during fight week which brought the bout into jeopardy. Hampered but refusing to quit, he survived a barrage of shots for the second half of the fight, but in the penultimate round a shot sent him through the ropes, and the trainer threw in the towel.
|Image: Daily Telegraph|
|Image: Getty Images|
"I have got so much respect for David as a fighter. We can do it again," a jubilant Tony Bellew told Sky Sports. His compatriot was all class too, responding "I did not expect him to have the chin and the durability that he has. Bellew, by far, was the better fighter tonight."
|Image: Sky Sports|
Dave Allen notched his second knockout in the space of a week when he blasted through the towering David Howe in the second round as part of the undercard action. The heavyweight is on a mission to break into the upper national echelon and beyond, and made another statement with a crushing right-left combination.
Phase 2 complete, wasn't great tonight but a wins a win and we go again very soon 👊👍— David Allen (@davidthewhiter1) March 4, 2017
Lee Selby, meanwhile, got back to action after his world title defence was called off a day before the scheduled date in Las Vegas due to Jonathan Barros' licensing issues. Andoni Gogo went 9 rounds and sported a gruesome cut during it which was the beginning of the end.
|Image: Bro Radio|
Big ease for Davies
Ohara Davies settled his feud with veteran Derry Matthews in three rounds to retire the Merseysider and retain his WBC silver title.
|Image: Boxing News|
TKO in round 3, thank you Derry Matthews for the opportunity, I respect you so much champ, thanks everyone who came out also #Boxing pic.twitter.com/PlBCwpZl3D— Ohara Davies (@OharaDavies) March 4, 2017
Matthews caught the attention of his opponent late in the first round, but as the prospect got through the gears, he was sharp and floored his opponent twice before the stoppage came in - marching forward with a vengeance and making himself known to all super-lightweights, with promoter Eddie Hearn announcing his intentions to take him to the world level.
Eggington finishes Malignaggi (and maybe his career)
Sam Eggington landed a crushing body shot in the eighth round to dispatch former world champion Paulie Malignaggi - and perhaps bring an end to the 36-year-old's career in the process.
|Image: Boxing News|
A body shot on the exit of an exchange folded Malignaggi out for the ten count, and that was that. He appeared to hint at retirement following the bout, but for Eggington it's a massive feather in the cap, at just 23 years of age.
Malignaggi, like a true professional, managed to get back to the commentary desk for the main event, mastering the art of double duty on the night.
9.00pm - Paulie Malignaggi fights Sam Eggington— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) March 4, 2017
10.30pm - Paulie Malignaggi back with the commentary team https://t.co/waHjf8Fwyi pic.twitter.com/T3sE4ZpKJm
Dynamite Taylor eyes world title with third win
Katie Taylor delivered another electric performance to finish Monica Gentili in their women's super-featherweight bout.
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Bellew pulls off shock win in Hayewire main event
Tony Bellew and David Haye finally let their fists do the talking, and when they met in the squared circle in London's O2 Arena, it produced fireworks - with the Evertonian working his way to a late stoppage.
Contrary to predictions, it was Bellew who was looking stronger in the early rounds, while his opponent looked surprisingly less sharp and swung wildly, making himself susceptible to some counter punches. The former world champion tried to stalk his opponent down but telegraphed the big shots, still struggling to find the range as Bellew lead the first three rounds.
|Image: Sky Sports|
The moment David Haye's ankle went vs Tony Bellew, incredible to survive until the 11th #HayeBellew pic.twitter.com/suVItKEP2L— Jack Rathborn (@JackRathborn) March 5, 2017
Some tape on the ankle wouldn't help, and the chaos was unfolding with a low blow giving Bellew a breather. In the eleventh round, Haye was backed up and a swift left hook sent him through the ropes. He managed to get himself back in, but that was all his corner needed to see as they threw in the towel.
|Image: Soccer AM|
David Haye vs Tony Bellew #HayeBellew Knocked out of the Ring and in goes the Towel! pic.twitter.com/4wzerBGhPe— Fancy Combat (@FancyCombat) March 4, 2017
Whatever you think of him, David Haye's heart should never be brought into question again. Fought his heart out tonight.— Mikey (@AnalyseBoxing) March 4, 2017
I don't even wanna hear that Hayes injury was an excuse. People where saying he would get put down in the 3rd and wrote off Bellew.— Jordan Khera (@JordiKhera) March 4, 2017
An uninjured Haye vs Bellew 2 will be huge— Rob (@BetOnFights) March 4, 2017
A warm embrace between the two men was a fitting way to wrap up a great showing of heart, after all the verbal sparring and animosity they settled it with a memorable fight in the English capital.
A rematch could be next, and the desire could be there for it considering the injury sustained, but whatever way it goes this night will be remembered for a long time.